Diary of a Foodie

Rhubarb Tarts

Diary of a Foodie: Season One: Australia: Slow Food

Makes24 Tartlets
  • Active Time:40 min
  • Start to Finish:2 3/4 hr
January 2007

For Dough

  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons water plus additional if necessary

For Rhubarb Filling

  • 1 pound rhubarb stalks, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • Special equipment:

    a pastry or bench scraper; 2 mini muffin pans with 12 (1/8-cup) muffin cups
  • Accompaniment:

    crème fraîche, well stirred

Make dough:

  • Whisk together flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl (or pulse in a food processor). Blend in butter with your fingertips or a pastry blender (or pulse) until mixture resembles coarse meal with some small (roughly pea-size) butter lumps. Beat together yolk and water with a fork and stir into flour mixture (or pulse) until incorporated.
  • Gently squeeze a small handful of dough: If it doesn't hold together, add more ice water, 1/2 tablespoon at a time, stirring (or pulsing) until incorporated. Do not overwork dough, or pastry will be tough.
  • Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 4 portions. With heel of your hand, smear each portion once in a forward motion to help distribute fat. Gather all of dough together with pastry scraper and transfer to a large sheet of plastic wrap. Roll dough into an 8-inch-long log (about 1 inch thick). Chill, wrapped in plastic wrap, until firm, at least 1 hour.

Make filling while dough chills:

  • Cook rhubarb and sugar in a 2-quart heavy saucepan over moderately low heat, stirring, until juices are released by rhubarb. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until rhubarb is tender and falling apart and mixture is slightly thickened, 15 to 18 minutes. Cool to room temperature.

Bake and fill tartlet shells

  • Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Cut dough crosswise into 24 slices and, using floured fingers, press each slice evenly onto bottom and up side of a muffin cup. Chill until cold and firm, about 15 minutes in refrigerator or 5 minutes in freezer.
  • Put muffin pans on a baking sheet and bake until golden, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool tartlet shells in pans on a rack 5 minutes, then carefully remove from pans (use a small, sharp knife to loosen if necessary) and cool completely on racks.
  • Fill tartlet shells with rhubarb (about 2 teaspoons filling per shell). Serve topped with dollops of crème fraîche.
Cooks' notes: Pastry dough can be chilled up to 2 days.
Tartlet shells can be baked 2 days ahead and kept in an airtight container at room temperature.
Rhubarb filling keeps, covered and chilled, 3 days. Leftover filling can be used as a compote (spread on toast or as an accompaniment to meat or poultry).
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